It is always enlightening to chat with families about their feeding beliefs. As I age in my career, I appreciate the powerful impact these unspoken beliefs have on raising a little eater.
I resort to instinctual feeding scripts layered deep inside of me when a mealtime goes sideways, despite having a sound understanding of how to foster a “healthy” feeding relationship with my children. Scripts like “if you eat your veggies, you can have a treat”, or “take another bite”. I SHOULD KNOW BETTER! I teach this stuff for goodness sake.
I have a sweet tooth and have struggled with being over-weight for a decent portion of my life. I’m now at a very healthy place in terms of exercise and enjoying things in moderation BUT I will still binge on sweets and overeat for absolutely no reason at all. My instinct is to place limits on volume when my little one stuffs her face with unhealthy things. Giving her the opportunity to discover self-regulation goes out the window when she blows past the volume that I think she should stop at. Or I negotiate preferred foods….. “only if she eats a good dinner”. How the heck does she know what a “good dinner” is. I just don’t want her to view her body as I once viewed mine. So the end result is providing inconsistent, swingy boundaries. I’m working on it.
I’m working towards:
-giving my kids the opportunity to regulate their own volumes regardless of the food choice I have provided
-breaking my bad milk habit… I have let my kids have milk between meals for WAY too long. I am embarrassed to say that we are finally at the stage of offering milk with meals and snacks and water in between.
-not using food as a reward
-being a better model. Simply not having the temptations around or making the temptations themselves healthier (i.e. making chickpea blondie brownies……. to my husband’s absolute dismay).
I am already good at:
-not making them finish their plate when they say they are done (the wasteful nature of this gets to my husband)
-asking them to interact with a food in some way rather than always saying they need to eat some (i.e. they need to touch, smell, lick or bite).
-talking about different food groups and how they influence the body (i.e. protein will make you strong for sports etc).
As always, I’m a work in progress.
What beliefs impact your feeding relationship with your littles?